The best contraband to smuggle into movie theaters

Lifehack: Be awesome.


Ziwe Fumudoh

Internet Culture

Published Aug 29, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 1:52 am CDT

Recently, America’s largest movie theater chain, Regal Cinemas, modified its security policy

to mandate that employees check bags and backpacks of patrons upon entry. In honor of

this new policy, I would like to reflect upon the best things I ever successfully smuggled into a cinema.



1) Traveling Mini-Bar

In (better) parts of the country, there are bars in movie theaters. All you have to do is show

employees your ID, and for a small fee you can get shitfaced while surrounded by children trying

to enjoy Minions. I have yet to encounter any location in New York that allows you to bring

drinks into the actual theater; thus, I bring my carry-on bag to every showtime so I can indulge in

my traveling bar. This bar includes, but is not limited to, wine glasses, a bottle of pinot noir,

and some Kraft cheese and crackers.


Difficulty Level: Low 

I’m well-versed in the art of deception, and explaining to movie attendants that you’re watching a

movie before your flight at LaGuardia is a great way to make them tune out and not care. I typically

dispose of my empty bottles on the theater floor, because I enjoy taunting overly trusting people.




2) Full Meal    

According to WebMD, I have very low blood sugar and need to snack at least every hour. Since

the average movie is 1.5 hours long, I bring a full meal to make sure I’m consuming the

appropriate amount of wings during each showing. Getting drunk during a children’s film is

rude, but blessing movie patrons with the savory scent of soul food is what I file to the IRS as

community service/donation. 

Really, I’m taking advantage of America’s to-go culture, which encourages customers to buy food and take it wherever they please—in this case, it was to the

5:00 PM viewing of the well-reviewed psychological thriller The Gift. (Note: This full-meal model is perfect if, like me, you’re a stress



Difficulty Level: High 

Smuggling food is quite difficult, especially if you don’t have a purse or backpack with a

structured base. I recommend bringing your own Tupperware and transferring the food in the

restaurant or movie restroom. The next obstacle is being unable to see the food you’re eating, and

subsequently spilling all over yourself. Sitting within the first eight rows or last three guarantees

you’ll have some lighting from the projection, but it exposes you to nosy ushers. Using the

backlight of your phone, however, encourages fellow moviegoers to mooch off your plate or complain.

Just wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and embrace the self-pity that comes

with eating secretly in the dark.



3) Comforter and Pillow 

For some unknown reason, movie theaters are excessively cold no matter the time of the year.

Due to my aforementioned self-diagnosed low blood sugar, I have poor circulation and must carry a full

comforter with me at all times to stave off hypothermia. Nothing is better than curling up with a

nice warm blanket and enjoying a movie. And since this America, I am not constrained to doing

this in the privacy of my own home. 

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon are great and all, but

they make you wait at least a couple of months for the hottest films. If I want to be Twitter famous, I need to appropriately use the latest memes and GIFs that pop culture has to offer, and that means going to

that midnight premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road. Since I’m seeing all these late-night shows, I usually bring

my pillow in case I need to take a short nap in Act Two, around when the action starts to stall. Comfort is

important to me, and truthfully, my blanket doubles as an amazing napkin/tablecloth for my full three-course meal. 

Difficulty Level: Medium

Generally, movie attendants understand that most patrons dislike sub-zero temperatures. The real

problem is the scene you make when you put your feet up on the seat in front of you, relax, and

begin to slowly drift off into Snoresville. This leads to a slew of enemies making it their

personal mission to get you ejected from the theater. Best to avoid this by sitting in the far-flung parts of the theater favored by disruptive teens and couples engaged in buttery handjobs. Best of luck!

Photo via Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 pm CDT